Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories looking at restaurant inspections. We have broken it down into two categories: fast food restaurants and sit down restaurants. We will write a story for each local municipality for each category.

LAKE PLACID — It’s often said that if you knew what went on in restaurant kitchens, you would never eat out. That may be true but at least there is a watchdog group that aims to keep restaurant owners and staff to a certain standards.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation performs yearly inspections of restaurants before issuing an operational license.

Sharing the inspections with the public gives citizens the needed tools to make an informed decision on where they will dine. Because there are so many restaurants in Highlands County, the fast food restaurant inspections and those restaurants that do not have a significant dine-in eatery will be shared first.

The DBPR inspections are done throughout the year and may have widely varying dates. The most current inspection information is being cited.

The inspections have different levels of violations based on the potential health threat to customers: high priority, intermediate and basic violations. This story will detail restaurants that have high priority violation(s). Those establishments without any violations will be noted as well.

There were no current records for Dunkin’ and McDonald’s. Highlands News-Sun has put in a public records request for those two establishments and will report that information when it is provided.

Based on their most recent inspections, two Lake Placid locations have no violations: Hong Kong Restaurant at 490 U.S. 27 and Burger King at 488 U.S. 27. Hong Kong was inspected on March 13 and “met inspection standards;” Burger King earned the same passing criteria and was inspected in September 2018.

Yum’s Chinese Restaurant at 150 Plaza Ave. was inspected on Aug. 22, 2018 and received a total of six violations. One was a high priority: The inspector noted raw chicken over ready-to-eat foods.

An intermediate violation noted was not providing staff with a sink with hot water. The inspector noted the owner turned a valve and the problem was solved.

Another intermediate violation was for chicken, pork and shrimp not properly date marked. Three basic violations included grease build up, improperly labeled boxes and utensil handles touching food.

Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers at 502 U.S. 27 was inspected on Oct. 3, 2018. It received a total of five violations. The facility received a warning because of a high priority violation in which an employee “failed to wash hands before changing gloves and working with food.”

Another high priority violation was the spray bottle, with degreaser cleaner on the food preparation surface; this issue was corrected on site, the inspector noted. The third high priority violation was given as a result of raw food being stored over the ready-to-eat items: raw chicken over kids juice drinks.

An intermediate violation was for an inaccessible hand washing sink because the sink was being used for storage. The basic violation the owners received was for the improper storage of an ice scooper handle touching ice.

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